Characterization and genetic potential of African pearl millet named landraces conserved at the ICRISAT genebank
The world collection of pearl millet at ICRISAT genebank includes 19,696 landraces. Passport and characterization data of 2,929 accessions belonging to 89 named landraces originating in 15 countries of Africa was used to study the adoption pattern and genetic potential. Out of 89 named landraces under study, 71 were grown in one country, 11 in two countries, six in three countries and one in four countries. Latitude and prevailing climate at collection sites were found as the important determinants of cultivation pattern of landraces. A hierarchical cluster analysis using 12 agronomic traits resulted in five clusters. Cluster 1 for late flowering, short height in rainy season, high tillering and thin panicles; cluster 2 for early flowering; cluster 3 for stout panicles in both the seasons and larger seeds and cluster 5 for longer panicles in both seasons, were found as promising sources. IP 8957, IP 8958, IP 8964 of Iniadi landrace for short height, downy mildew and rust resistance and high seed iron and zinc contents; IP 17521 of Gnali (106.9 ppm) and IP 11523 of Idiyouwe (106.5 ppm) for high seed iron content; IP 17518 of Gnali (79.1 ppm) and IP 11535 of Iniadi (78.4 ppm) for high seed zinc content were the important sources. All accessions of Raa for high seed protein content (>15%) and those of Enele for drought tolerance, were found to be promising sources. Further evaluation of promising sources identified in this study is needed for enhanced utilization of germplasm in pearl millet improvement.